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Enduring Upcoming Hardship


My friend emailed me from Guatemala.  He told me of the death of friends and destruction of property caused by the season's first hurricane.  Many people in Guatemala are poor, and this has only made them poorer.  I've also been recently reminded of Christians in countries where their governments are hostile towards them because of their association with Jesus.  Their suffering and persecution is a test of their trust in Jesus, as was the hurricane for the Christians in Guatemala.  It seems to me that in both of these situations of suffering, the affected Christians don't spend a lot of time complaining, something not often seen in more affluent nations.  


When watching CNN, you see lots of people complaining about lots of things.  CNN is becoming more confrontational in their coverage of news events.  The complaining, blaming, and confrontational commentary we see on CNN is due to our fallen nature.  It's actually something CNN exploits for the purpose of ratings and advertising dollars.  CNN says they are "keeping them honest", whoever "them" is at any given moment.  I'd like to ask, "who is keeping CNN honest?"  If CNN films a person speaking thankfully in the midst of a crisis, it would not surprise me if  the comments were edited out of the final video clip because they aren't confrontational.      


Christians shouldn't emulate CNN, although many of us do.  We are to emulate the Bible.  Paul told Timothy to "endure hardships as a good soldier of Jesus Christ". (2 Timothy 2:3, 4:5 also Hebrews 12:7)   That doesn't leave much room for complaining, blaming, and confrontation.    


Hard times are coming to affluent Christians in western nations.  One thing I'm learning is that salvation rises out of God's judgment, and judgment brings hardship.  With this in mind, we should decide in advance to endure hardship as good soldiers of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Soldiers have a serious job to do, and complaining and blaming only gets in the way.    


I'd dare say that when affluent Christians begin to suffer, as many other Christians do, and have, we will see an exit from the faith by many.  If we complain about the minor irritations of life now, how will we survive the hard days ahead?  A soldier knows how to rough things out.  Many of us have gotten too soft in our faith.  A soft faith won't stand the tests that are coming our way. 


Being a Christian is a serious matter.  It's not a weekend hobby.  It's more than attending a Sunday meeting.  It's allowing Jesus to change the way we live. It's even allowing Jesus to change the way we speak.  But most of all, it's allowing Jesus to change the very thoughts inside our head, thoughts that no one else but Jesus knows about.  I wonder what President Obama would think about this kind of change.  I believe I know what he would think.  May we all find grace to make the needed changes in our lives.  May complaining be replaced with an attitude of enduring hardship as good  soldiers of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

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